tv Earth Focus LINKTV June 10, 2013 9:30pm-10:01pm PDT
>> today on "earth focus," the future, swedish style. building a model eco-district in stockholm, growing urban food in skyscraper farms, expanding organic eateries, and using sunlight to purify water. innovative solutions from sweden that may transform the way we live, coming up on "earth focus." sweden, in the heart of scandinavia and at the edge of the arctic circle, is the fourth-largest country in europe. in fall and winter, the
northern lights are on striking display here, and much of the pristine landscape is shaped by mountains, forests, and lakes. most of sweden's 9 million people, over 80%, live in cities like stockholm, the capital. gateway to the baltic sea, stockholm spans 14 islands and is said to be one of the cleanest cities in the world. here, residents have more than adopted an environmental spirit; it's part of their culture. >> sweden being ahead of the curve in terms of environmental issues--i think it's because most swedes still have a real connection to the environment around us. >> swedes' concern about the environment really dates back from our love of the nature and that we really want to preserve things for the coming generation, which is a big thing for us here in sweden.
>> even here in stockholm, which is a big city, there is a park close by, so it gives individuals a sense of connection with the environment around them that i think a lot of us may have lost, particularly those of us that live in cities. >> the green issue is market-driven in stockholm. people are demanding green housing or sustainable housing. if you ask the stockholmers, "do you like or dislike that the city of stockholm has high ambitions in the environmental field?" 90% says it's very good. and if you ask the citizens of stockholm and the public in stockholm, "do you like or dislike that the city puts up a demand on you to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle?" 75% likes it. >> in 2010, stockholm became the
first city to receive the european commission's green capital award for its exemplary environmental planning, effective reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, and goal to be fossil-fuel-free by 2050. the city is continuing that legacy by transforming the stockholm royal seaport, a rundown district on the northeast edge of the city, into a model city of the future. formerly the king's hunting ground, the city purchased the area in the 19th century and converted it to an industrial port with oil- and gas-handling facilities. today, empty buildings are reminders of the past industrial revolution. but by 2020, developers plan to turn this 583-acre area into a mixed-use eco-city, an attractive place to live and work. >> my name is staffan lorentz. i am head of development for the
stockholm royal seaport project. we are planning in transforming an old industrial import area into new areas for living for 10,000 new apartments and 30,000 new work spaces. the projects in this phase actually started in 2010. it was--we made a program together with a port company to find out, what ways should we use the area for in the future? the port company needed to have more space to develop on, and also the city is rapidly growing. we need to have more spaces for houses and work spaces, so we needed to go together and find out, what things should we have inside of stockholm and what things should we have outside of stockholm?
we have certain focus areas within the environmental program for the project, one of them being energy, so we are working with the developers of this project in order to have them put up energy-efficient buildings, so we are focusing on finding out ways to make things as energy-efficient as possible, and one of the goals that we have in the first phases of the development is to have no more than 55 kilowatt-hours per square meter a year in the residential areas. so that's the standards that the developers must fulfill in order to get land allocation. >> and that is half of the electrical consumption per square meter currently permitted in sweden, a country that already has some of the most stringent standards in europe. the goal is to move away from fossil fuels like coal and oil and to reduce carbon dioxide
emissions. in stockholm, about 4.5 tons of co2 are emitted per person per year. the royal seaport plans to blow that number out of the water. >> we are having goals that we should have no more than 1.5 tons of co2 emissions by 2020, and in order to get that, we are working in renewing the heating and electrical production facilities to make it biofueled instead of using oil or coal. >> the objective is to create an ecodistrict with extremely low energy consumption and providing all the facilities for a sustainable transport system--public transport, biking--to create, in every sense, environmental or green area or green residential district
and absolute world-class. >> we are right now in the gas work area, and this is where we have started to construct the first apartments, and they are going to be moving in as of october of this year. we are standing in front of the old gas container, which was produced in the 1890s, and this is one of the buildings that are going to be preserved in the area and going to be transformed into cultural venues, et cetera. in the future, we are going to see only biofuel or solar cells or windmills, et cetera, so we are shifting out the oil from the production here. we need to be smarter in the future, because more and more people are moving into cities, so we need to have cities being constructed more smart and make people make smart choices in transport or in
energy consumption, et cetera, in order to actually save the globe in the end. one of the things that we are trying to make here in stockholm royal seaport is installing a smart grid network. and we're working with a power company that supplies electricity, and if we have residential areas, energy being produced by solar cells or by windmills, et cetera, on days that there is no use for electricity, they should have ways to shift it back to the power company for use elsewhere in the grid. so that's what we are trying to find ways to make possible--to have a smart grid installed and also make it legal and also make it economical so that they should actually get paid for handing electricity
to the grid. >> by transforming a relic of its industrial past into a vision for sustainable living, the stockholm royal seaport could well become a model replicated by other cities around the world. as city populations grow, providing healthy, locally produced food efficiently and sustainably is an increasing challenge. hans hassle, the ceo of plantagon, is planting new seeds for the future of urban farming. plantagon, a leader in vertical urban agriculture, will construct a cutting-edge greenhouse in the swedish city of linkoping, south of stockholm. the aim is to produce more food using less space; to deliver fresh produce at lower cost by marketing directly to consumers; and to embody a new business model, one that makes money while doing good.
>> hans hassle, plantagon international. it's a new concept. what is it? >> we are trying to be part of finding technical solutions on how we're going to feed the future really huge megacities of the world. we are sure that we will have many reasons for growing food large-scale inside our cities, and we want to be part of developing those few solutions for how to do that. we do believe that we will have 3 different problems to feed people living inside the city. one is the vast geographical sprawl of the cities. 2040, 2050--most scientists agree that 80% of 9 billion people will
live inside cities. and already today, we are using 80% of the arable land that we have on the whole planet. if you put these two developing curves together, then you easily realize that what will happen is that we have to grow food, large-scale, inside the city. a city is a dense environment. the land is really, really expensive, so if you want to grow things in the city, you have to go vertical. and to go vertical, then you have to develop new technical solutions, and that's what we are doing. >> urban agriculture, vertical farming--what does it look like? how does it work? >> vertical farming is about getting a good ratio between the footprint on the ground and how much growable area you can get out of a building. so growing things vertical makes only sense if you don't have enough land where you want to grow your food. the way that we solve it is from constructing a building
where you don't work with horizontal stories. instead we have an open construction using an helical shape that lets much more sunlight into the core of the building, and then we have a patented logistic system for how to move our crops at the same time as they grow inside this vertical building. >> when will the plantagon greenhouse begin producing, and what will it produce? >> the objective is to have the building in linkoping ready at the end of 2013. it depends on the local authorities. we're ready to start building at this stage, so we're just waiting for the approval. we will have a production of 300 to 500 tons every year, and on that building, the footprint on the ground is 400 square meters. that's the whole point of doing things vertical. the footprint on the ground of 400 square
meters--that's like a normal garden that you would have to your house--we produce 500 tons of food every year. in linkoping, we will be growing pak choy, mizuna, and chrysanthemum. this is for the chinese market because our clients at this stage are in asia. >> the urban farm is not very labor-intensive, is it? >> in a dirty city environment, you need to grow things in a closed system or at least semi-closed system. that means that you have to have as little people going into the system as you possibly could to protect it from having to use pesticides and other things. what we and everyone else is developing is therefore a system that is like, everything goes around. you plant at the same place as you harvest. that means that the whole farming machine that
we are building is much more efficient than if you would do this on free land because then you would move things around all the time. here, in a sense, you're actually moving the field that you're growing on. instead of moving people and machines around, you move the things that are growing. that means that it gets much less labor-intensive. this is both good and bad, of course, because you take work opportunities away in one sense. on the other hand, if you don't compete with the free-land growers, you don't disturb their market and their jobs and you create new jobs inside the city, also opening up for sort of new people becoming farmers. if you would ask my children if it would be cool to become a farmer, i think they would say no. if you would ask them if they would be interested in working in this kind of high-tech futuristic building that are producing food inside the city, they might very well say yes. in india, for example,
one of our main markets, this is the main reason for them to work with urban agriculture--to get the young people interested in becoming farmers. when you have a normal greenhouse business, it's much less expensive to build a normal greenhouse than to build one of ours. on the other hand, to run a normal greenhouse is much more expensive than to run one of ours. the life cycle of one of ours--we are building real estate, real estate where you can grow food at the same time. a greenhouse, you build them, you take them away after 20, at the most 30 years, and then you build a new one. so we are just rationalizing an old industry and making it like a second generation greenhousing. and when you do things like this, when you automize and industrialize an old system, you always have higher investment
costs and lower costs at the end. so the payback time in linkoping, for example, it's about 5 years on the whole building. so the business case for this is really, really good. you also have to remember that the cost of a tomato--if you buy a tomato at the grocery store, about 60% is middlemen cost--transportation and the store selling the tomato. we're taking all that away. we're selling directly to the consumer. so even if we have to invest higher, we have much less costs at the end for our sales. >> why do you call this climate smart? what are the processes you're going to make use of that are useful? >> every vertical greenhouse has to be located where you don't create new transport, because that's the second reason. it's not sustainable to transport all the food that we're eating inside the city. we have to cut away the transport. that's the best way, or one of the best ways to diminish the carbon dioxide footprint
that we're creating today. >> if you're not going to grow your plants in soil, how do you grow them? >> we were represented by not a totally hydroponics system but a system where we use hydroponics but actually also volcanic stone that we can grow and get the same result as if we were growing in soil. the thing with tasty food is, if you grow things in a liquid, then you don't get really, really good food. you can get the same nutritious food, but it doesn't taste as well. that depends on the roots not getting oxygen enough. but if you use hydroponics, then you will get the same taste and healthy food. if you would measure them, i think that ours will be even better. >> urban farming will help
provide restaurants with healthy locally produced food. some swedish restaurants are already meeting consumer demand by going local and organic. >> my name is per malmnas. i'm one of the 3 proprietors of restaurant nyagatan, and this restaurant is located in the middle of stockholm with a focus on not only organic food but traditionally food with local produce and local producers. when we opened the restaurant, we wanted to have something--serve food that was traditional in a way but with local ingredients. we serve wild boar--local wild boar. we have goat cheese which is made outside stockholm. so when it comes to health issues regarding food, we think it's more healthy for people to visit us where they know exactly where the produce is from, and you can always ask the waiter or waitress where the food is from, the meat is from. we can tell them exactly where it is instead of going to the supermarket, where it's undefined where the meat comes from.
[ring ring] what we try to do with the customer is always to inform on the ingredients--where the ingredients comes from on the menu. so for instance, if we have a special dish, if we have special fresh-water salmon, we tell them where it's from, where it's been caught, and we try to make people aware of what they're eating at that time. one of the aims of the business is to have a lower carbon footprint. we try to have as few deliveries as possible and as many products produced locally as possible instead of transporting and buying things out of season. if you buy things out of season, it has to be transported a longer way. we hope to think so, as well, that people are making a choice while visiting us. even though they don't have to take a big stand, but still, though, they can make a difference as well.
>> when it comes to addressing environmental challenges, new swedish technologies are making a difference, not only in sweden but around the world. in many parts of the world, safe water is hard to come by. over 1.1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water, and that's 12% of the world's population. >> solvatten! >> technology can be a solution. solvatten, or sun water, is a new water purifier invented by swedish artist and microbiologist petra wadstrom. >> the story begin in australia, where there was a lot of sun, and we were there. and now it's
nearly 50 years ago. but unused sunshine, and i thought, that should not be like that. now we are traveling a lot to different project areas, mainly to africa, and you can really see how people struggling every day to get safe water. >> people aren't the only ones affected. the environment pays a price as well. making water safe to drink requires boiling, and that means using fuels like wood, charcoal, coal, or dung-- fuels that contribute to deforestation and to carbon emissions. unlike these boiling methods, solvatten helps reduce carbon emissions. it is portable, requires no batteries, supplies, or spare parts. the supply of energy for purification--sunlight--is endless.
>> and when you have filled it, you put it in the sun, so you use the solar energy and create heat. and with the heat, you destroy the bacterial cell membrane, so that hurts, or destroys, the dna code, so they can't reproduce, and then you leave it in the sun for a couple of hours, and then you know this water is safe. >> i myself am real grateful to solvatten. because of the tool which has greatly enhanced my health. just as mom said, i'm the one who was--at least i was just sick of typhoid. and now that we have that tool, i can easily just use it and then i know that it's safe for drinking. that's why i'm really grateful. yeah. >> [singing in african language]
>> to work on the solution as i have done so many years, to come back to people who are using your solution and see the impact--it's just fantastic. >> i'm very proud of my mother, yeah. yeah, of course. how can you not be? solvatten is still a family company. it's a challenge. of course, we can make a big difference, a huge difference for the people actually getting solvatten. i see water being the key and the most important things that's to be looked after. we're in an interesting position where we're working with both private companies wanting to be a part of the solution, and
the not-for-profit world as well as the for-profit world. >> so we always try to find good subsidies, to find possibility to reach the people who need solvatten the most, and that is a way of using a sustainable solution, that it's a high investment for poor people, but if you conceive just after 10 months, you have the whole return of investment just you look at the energy savings. i think that's important to see if we can have solutions used for many years. it's a very important way to go to help poor